Monday 4 September 2023

John calls for a “reset” in school uniform costs

John Healey says there needs to be a “reset” in the relationship between parents and schools when it comes to uniform costs.

It’s as the Labour Party announced plans to reduce the cost of buying school uniforms, potentially saving families hundreds of pounds as children return to school for the new term.

Labour will limit the number of branded items that parents are forced to purchase in future by strengthening existing guidance on the cost of school uniforms.

John Healey said: “It’s wrong that parents are having to shell out hundreds of pounds to kit out their kids for the new school term as the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit household budgets.

“The cost of school uniform has risen by 30% in the last three years, with parents now spending an average of £422 a year on secondary school uniforms and £287 on primary uniforms with costs driven up by branded items.

“That’s why Labour will limit the number of branded items families must buy saving them money on spiralling uniform costs.”

The Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021, introduced by Labour MP Mike Amesbury, forced schools to review their uniform policies to see how they can be made more cost-effective by keeping branded items “to a minimum”.

Schools were expected to review policies to ensure they were compliant with the guidance by September last year. Nearly half of parents surveyed by the Children’s Society reported, however, that policies had not been updated.

The Children’s Society polled 2,000 parents across the UK in May about their annual uniform costs, claiming that parents of secondary school children faced the highest expenses for various clothing items, including:

  • Coats and bags averaging £75 per child annually
  • Sports shoes and boots for PE amounting to an average £63 per child per year
  • School shoes coming in at £62
  • Blazers costing £46
  • Skirts and dresses costing £46
  • Jumpers and ties amounting to £40

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